Whether you’re sitting in the driver’s seat or staring out the window, the best audiobooks can turn hours of boredom into an exhilarating adventure.
At Hooked To Books, we love audiobooks as much as we love *literal* page-turners.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the 40 best audiobooks for road trips, long commutes, or just everyday entertainment!
Best Audiobooks of 2021
Best Fiction Audiobooks
While listening to the horrors of the futuristic dystopia of Gilead, one might find it hard to believe that the book is pure fiction; rather than a horrifying prophecy.
The narrator, Claire Danes, tells the story of Offred, a Handmaid serving in the household of a prestigious commander and his wife.
The storytelling is dark and uncomfortable; the sort of narration that will leave the listener on the edge of their seat.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a defining book of my late teens and early 20s.
This classic, coming-of-age tale is full of heartwarming and heartbreaking nostalgia that inspires listeners of all ages to live their lives to the fullest.
This book by Garth Stein was made into a movie in 2019, but it also remains one of the best audiobooks of the year.
The Art of Racing in the Rain is a love letter to man’s best friend. The audiobook is about an amateur racecar driver named Denny and his four-legged friend, Enzo.
Keep tissues on hand as you listen to their story.
The Help is one of the most popular fiction books and movies of the past decade.
The audiobook, read by the author, is a tale of friendship and courage between women from different backgrounds.
Best Non-Fiction Audiobooks
Comedian and media personality Trevor Noah takes us on a journey into his life as a mixed-race boy growing up in South Africa during Apartheid. Noah narrates the book in the same fashion as his comedy.
He’ll leave you laughing while making you think. It’s impossible to finish listening to Born a Crime without a deeper empathy into the lives of others.
I was skeptical when I pressed “play” on Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance. Just another book about dating, I assumed. Fortunately, my assumptions were quickly proven wrong.
This audiobook goes deep into the psychological and cultural issues that impact relationships in the modern world.
Read by the author, it does so while keeping the tone of Ansari’s light-hearted humor.
After the last U.S. presidential election, I found myself asking questions about why people are more divided than ever?
Turns out, psychologist Jonathan Haidt has been asking the same questions for years. He recounts his findings in The Righteous Mind.
This audiobook isn’t for someone who wants to stay stuck only seeing from their own worldview. But it’s an educational and thought-provoking audiobook for listeners who want to have a more holistic understanding of the complicated world we live in.
Mystery & Thriller Audiobooks
If you’re into mysteries and thrillers, you may have heard of New York Times Best-Selling Author Gillian Flynn.
Sharp Objects, which was recently made into an HBO TV series, shares the chilling discoveries of a journalist who is sent to do an assignment on mysterious murders occurring in her hometown.
What she finds is a disturbing secret that will change her life forever.
In this dark and chilling thriller audiobook, hangman Jakob Kuisl investigates the murders happening in his small German town in 1659.
This audiobook takes the listener on a spooky and mysterious ride as the protagonist unravels the mystery. You won’t be able to stop listening until you uncover the truth.
Fans of the beloved Sherlock Holmes will love The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes.
The audiobook contains every Sherlock story ever written by the author, a total of 60 titles. This makes it a whopping 70 hours long! Take these stories on your next cross-country road trip or international flight.
The Lake House is a historical mystery novel set in Cornwall, England. The story is about a woman who lost her youngest son nearly 60 years ago, and a young detective who helps her put together pieces of the past.
This spellbinding adventure is a must for anyone who loves mystery audiobooks.
Best Fantasy Audiobooks
Harry Potter captivated the hearts of children and adults across the world when the series was released, and it continues to do so today.
The Harry Potter series makes for a perfect road trip companion for listeners who love adventure and fantasy.
Another fantasy must-read (or listen, in this case) is the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Sir Phillip Pullman.
The trilogy guides the listener on the journey of a young girl and her animal companion, as they strive to uncover a dark truth about their universe.
This mystical tale will keep you on the edge of your seat for hours.
These classic tales by C.S. Lewis make for a perfect family-friendly listening adventure.
The books in The Chronicles of Narnia series are about the adventures of young siblings who discover the world of Narnia, a magical land on the other side of their wardrobe.
Our daily habits, however small, shape our lives in more ways than we realize.
By recognizing unhealthy habits and working toward developing healthy ones, we can become more productive, more successful, and happier.
The Power of Habit is one of the best audiobooks for anyone looking to make a positive change.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Are you someone who feels like you care too much, about everything, all the time? Mark Manson felt like that, too. Until one day, he didn’t.
In this self-help audiobook, Manson offers inspiring, no-BS advice for young adults or anyone who wants to live a good life.
You may have heard of Rachel Hollis. The author writes some of the best self-help books for women.
If you’re feeling stuck or need an extra motivation boost to stop apologizing and start taking action toward a better life, Girl, Stop Apologizing is the perfect audiobook for you.
Memoir & Biography Audiobooks
If a single audiobook can be both devastating and inspiring, it’s Educated by Tara Westover.
In the audiobook, Westover shares the intimate and chilling moments of her life growing up in Idaho. It’s a story of religion, poverty, abuse, and ultimately, education.
Her story is a reminder that anyone is capable of getting out of the hardest of situations.
Hillbilly Elegy is a memoir about a young man who grew up in a working-class, “hillbilly” community and went on to graduate from Yale Law School. The audiobook isn’t just Vance’s personal story.
It also sheds light on issues that impact millions of American’s, like poverty, drug addiction, and abuse.
Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, is one of the most inspirational audiobooks of the decade.
Obama shares her story from growing up in a working-class Chicago family to becoming the first African-American First Lady.
The audiobook is an inspiring listen about empowerment and defying expectations.
Tiffany Haddish tells some of her most outlandish tales in The Last Black Unicorn.
Hilarious and heartwarming, this audiobook will have you crying tears of laughter. It’s also unexpectedly inspiring, as Haddish puts a comic twist on many of the struggles she experienced as she worked toward becoming a famous actress and comedian.
Amy Poehler is best known Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation, but her rise to stardom started long before she was an SNL cast member.
In Yes Please, Poehler tells the funniest stories — from her awkward childhood to the weird reality of “making it.”
The audiobook also features vocal appearances by several celebrities!
Tina Fey is one of the best comedians of our time. She’s quirky, relatable, and hilarious.
In her tell-all audiobook, she shares stories of her life as a nerdy kid to her journey into comedy, motherhood, and more. If there is one lesson that Fey leaves listeners with it’s this — it’s OK to be bossy!
Many of us know Mindy Kaling for her role as Kelly on The Office, and later as the protagonist of The Mindy Project. But Kaling knew she wanted to be an entertainer long before her days in Scranton.
This audiobook delivers a hilarious and heartfelt look into the life of Mindy Kaling.
Best Inspirational Audiobooks
Brene Brown is one of the most well-known researchers and inspirational authors today.
In her latest book, Braving the Wilderness, she inspires readers and listeners to stand for what’s right — even when it’s hard. And even if it means standing alone.
In the Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz pulls from ancient wisdom to share the most important rules of life.
This quick, yet powerful listen will change how you see the world — and yourself.
The Alchemist tells the story of a young shepherd boy in search of deeper meaning and fulfillment in life. Through his journey, he uncovers essential wisdom and truths that guide him toward his life’s purpose.
This inspiring novel is about learning to trust your intuition, listen to your heart, and follow your dreams.
Elizabeth Gilbert, famous for her book-turned-film Eat, Pray, Love, knows something about living a creative life.
Gilbert has traveled the world teaching other writers and creatives how to live a meaningful life beyond fear. And she shares her best nuggets of wisdom in Big Magic.
Susan Cain introduced the world to the power of introversion. This audiobook is a terrific listen for introverts and extroverts, alike.
Cain explains the strengths and challenges of introverts. She also challenges the ways that society values loud voices over quiet, and shares thoughtful advice.
What do all people want — possibly more than anything else in the world? The answer is simple: to be happy. But how do we find happiness?
That’s the question Haidt answers in The Happiness Hypothesis. Haidt challenges the ways we view happiness and offers psychology-backed suggestions for living a happier life.
Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do About It by Ann E. Tenbrunsel and Max H. Bazerman
Many times when we fail to “do the right thing,” it’s not because we are trying to do the wrong thing. It’s just a blind spot.
This audiobook dives into human psychology and ethics to help you uncover why people make bad decisions and what we can do to improve our own odds of doing what’s right.
This classic business book by Dale Carnegie is a must-listen for anyone wanting to improve their social skills and emotional intelligence.
Whether you’re starting out in your career, trying to make friends, or looking to grow your social influence, Carnegie’s wisdom will win you over in this audiobook. There’s a reason it’s ranked #1 in Friendship books and audiobooks on Amazon.
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
Blogger and entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau interviewed hundreds of successful business owners for The $100 Startup. Many of these founders started out with only $100 (or less) and built businesses that make more than $50,000 per year!
This book is full of inspiring stories and practical tips for anyone wanting to start a business on a budget.
It’s no secret that women face unique challenges in business. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg addresses some of the causes of these challenges, and what steps we can take to address them, in Lean In.
Her insight and inspiration make this audiobook one of the all-time best business books for women.
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt
In this best-selling audiobook, economists Dubner and Levitt examine the “hidden side” to, well, everything.
If you’re interested in how different ideas are connected and how humans can be incentivized to make decisions, this is a unique book to check out.
The audiobook is just under 8 hours long and ranked #1 in Economics and Mathematics on Amazon.
Audiobooks for Kids and Family
Holes is the story of a boy who is sentenced to a year of labor — digging holes at a juvenile detention center.
Louis Sachar’s beloved children’s tale is one of the best books for kids. At under 5 hours, the audiobook is perfect to listen to on a road trip with the family.
A mesmerizing story about time-travel and family love, A Wrinkle in Time in a children’s book classic that also makes for a perfect road trip companion.
And at 6.5 hours, it will keep the kids (or yourself!) entertained for hours.
Because of Winn-Dixie is a heartwarming story about a young girl and her best friend — a stray dog that she names Winn-Dixie.
It’s a short listen (under 3 hours) and enjoyable for kids and adults of all ages.
This classic dystopian book for teens is a perfect audible companion for your next road trip.
The Giver is a story about a world that is seemingly “perfect” — yet quietly haunted by conformity and lack of independence. It’s a cautionary, yet inspiring tale for kids and adults.
If you’re looking for a longer audiobook for kids, try Little Women. This beloved classic tells the story of the March sisters — Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy. The sisters are different in personalities, interests, and more; but bound by their love for family and one another.
The audiobook is more than 17 hours in length, making it perfect for a long trip, especially with older kids (or adults!).
What are your favorite audiobooks?
Did we leave one of the best audiobooks off this list? Share your favorites in the comments and we may add it in the future!